Xerox commercial from 1972 shows the computer as your personal assistant

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A commercial for Xerox's Alto computer released in 1972 introduced the world to the first desktop computer with a graphical user interface. Named after Xerox PARC's home city of Palo Alto, California, the computer introduced the world to the window-oriented mouse and keyboard interface we use today. Although it wasn't heavily promoted at the time, it caught the eye of the young Steve Jobs, who licensed the interface technology for use in the Apple Lisa. The Alto also had a distinctive portrait screen — an idea that was well before its time.

The video showed how the computer could revolutionize your office life, with email, word processing and reminders all controlled by a cursor. It also shows the protagonist expressing his thoughts and actions out loud, as if in conversation with the Alto (which seems to be nicknamed "Fred"). While this is obviously a way to express what he's doing to users who will be unfamiliar with computers and make them seem more human, we can't help but think of speech-driven personal assitant Siri, introduced with the iPhone 4S.


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